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Murder Charges: Common Defenses & Potential Punishments
Murder charges are serious, as murder is one of the most difficult crimes an individual can commit. However, not all individuals accused of murder are guilty. If the charges against you are false, the first thing you have to do is hire San Diego’s leading criminal defense lawyers to represent your innocence in court. However, you should also know what punishments you’re facing and what kind of a defense strategy your lawyers are planning.
What are the common defenses for murder charges?
The defense strategy for proving your innocence is highly personalized and depends on the circumstances of your case and your specific accusations. There are no two identical defenses for each murder case, as a reputable lawyer will carefully envision their strategy based on your particular case.
This is why hiring the best lawyer you can is vital. They need to have the knowledge, the experience, and the dedication to establish a correct line of defense. That being said, there are some general defense strategies often witnessed in the courtroom. Knowing what they are can help you better prepare for your case and trial.
Self-defense or justifiable killing
This is one of the most frequent defense strategies – killing another individual while performing the act of defending yourself against their intent to harm you. However, such justification can be difficult to prove without clearly showing that the defendant used reasonable force while attempting to defend themselves from the assault.
There are also other types of justifiable homicides, such as exercising the duty of a police officer that results in the death of another individual. Such acts also extend to other types of public officers allowed to carry firearms.
Diminished capacity or insanity
There are some strategies for defense that challenge the defendant’s mental capacity to purposely form the intent to take another person’s life. In this case, the defense attorney challenges their client’s capability to carry out rational decisions at the time of the killing. The two main types of diminished capacity defense strategy are:
- Mental disorder: If the defendant suffers from a mental disorder, they can receive lessened charges due to their inability to form an intent of murder. This requires written proof of the disorder and such a defense can result in the verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity”.
- Impairment: Impairment refers to the accused person’s impaired mental capacity at the time of the killing, either due to a head trauma, mental illness, or intoxication. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, such a defense strategy can result in acquittal and lessened charges.
Heat of passion
If a defendant lashes out at another person in an outburst of passion, they can face charges of involuntary manslaughter instead of first or second degree murder. This kind of defense strategy usually leads to a lessened sentence.
What are the potential punishments for murder?
There are two main types of murder charges – first-degree murder and second-degree murder. The potential punishments for these types of murder charges vary:
- Punishments for first-degree murder: A conviction for a murder in the first degree carries a sentence of as many as 25 years in prison. If the murder constitutes a hate crime, the punishment can extend to a life in prison without the possibility for a parole.
- Punishments for second-degree murder: The punishment for a murder in the second degree can be up to 15 years in prison with the potential for a life sentence in case the:
- Individual has past criminal history
- If the killing is the result of discharging a firearm from a vehicle
- If the individual killed was a member of the law enforcement
Who in San Diego can prepare a strong criminal defense for my case?
Facing false murder charge is extremely difficult and it can make your whole life change over night. It’s paramount to do all you can to improve your chances of a successful defense. This includes learning more about the three types of murder charges, knowing the facts about the different types of manslaughter, and exploring the potential defenses and punishments for manslaughter.
However, there’s something even more important than this – hiring adequate legal representation. Vik Monder has ample experience helping individuals accused of murder get their voice across. He and the Monder Criminal Lawyer Group will do all in their power to secure a favorable sentence. We offer fully free initial consultations and we accept different payments. Find our offices near Horton Plaza Park and schedule an appointment today!